The past few weeks, it has been a mixed bag when it comes to news about the coronavirus health crisis. After a week of promising announcements regarding potential treatments and vaccines, what followed were published results from studies that confirmed the ineffectiveness of certain medication. One was about Remdesivir, an antiviral drug from Gilead Sciences, which reportedly did not show any significant impact on COVID-19 patients. Another discussed the dangerous complications form hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. Now, Novavax reveals that it will begin clinical trials in Australia.

Around 131 volunteers with ages between 18 to 59 will be injected with the American biotech company's NVX-CoV2373 vaccine candidate. The doses prescribed by its doctors will range from 5-25 micrograms and will be administered to groups in two separate sites. In charge of the testing is Dr. Gregory Glenn, the company's research chief. As detailed by Fox News, he conducted a remote news conference from the firm's headquarters in Maryland.

It seems Novavax is confident about the outcome of its research as Glenn stated: "We are in parallel making doses, making vaccine in anticipation that we'll be able to show it's working and be able to start deploying it by the end of this year." Its manufacturing facilities are supposedly capable of producing approximately 100 million doses within the year. By 2021, it can allegedly distribute as much as 1.5 billion doses.

Depending on the results from the preliminary phase of testing, the next segment could see an even larger control group in more countries. The company hopes to announce its findings by July and move forward from that point on. Equally notable is the fact that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) based in Norway is investing $388 million. Reports also point out that the foundation is funded by Bill Gates.

US biotech firm
A US biotech firm Moderna has reported 'positive interim' results in early testing of a vaccine candidate Photo: AFP / Thibault Savary

According to sources, NVX-CoV2373 is identified as a recombinant vaccine. Novavax explained: "The way we make a vaccine is we never touch the virus." Nevertheless, it claims that the human body's immune system will still recognise it as a virus, and in theory, produce the necessary antibodies needed to fight against the actual coronavirus.